Coming off a scoreless draw against the Colorado Rapids last week, the FC Dallas offense was looking to break out in a big way against Chivas USA. The 3-1 win against the expansion side Saturday night at The Home Depot Center satisfied that urge.
"We controlled the game in the second half and it was just a matter of when the goals would come," said FC Dallas Coach Colin Clarke. "They came late but it was good and gave us the result."
Ronnie O'Brien ended a 173-minute scoring drought in the 40th minute with a 35-yard blast that found the extreme upper-left corner of the Chivas USA goal. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who was caught off guard by the shot, reached weakly for it as it found the back of the net.
"I struck it pretty well and if you hit enough of them, one will go in," said O'Brien. "I've lost a lot of balls in training like that but at least they'll be able to find this one."
"Ronnie is one of the few people in the league who would try that and one of the few who could pull it off," said Clarke of his Irish forward.
O'Brien's goal and late assist to Eddie Johnson demonstrated his ability to open up FC Dallas attack.
"Ronnie did very well tonight," added Clarke. "He had the first goal and had a great assist on the third and he was full of energy. He covered every blade of grass out there."
Although Chivas USA scored the equalizer less than four minutes later, it was FC Dallas who controlled the pace throughout the rest of the match.
The three-pronged attack of O'Brien on the left, Carlos Ruiz in the center and Johnson on the right seems to be starting to come together, to the dismay of defenses across the league.
"If you watched all three of our games so far, you can see that we're getting better and better every game," Johnson said. "Later in the season after we get more games in and people get comfortable with each other, we're going to be hard to beat."
The much-hyped duo of Ruiz and Johnson, though, had trouble getting on the same page early in the match with Ruiz feeding a couple of good balls into Johnson who misread the passes.
On individual possessions, however, each showed flashes of brilliance. In the 90th minute, Johnson did well to take O'Brien's pass and cleverly flick it past an oncoming Guzan, giving FC Dallas a deserved third goal.
"Whenever Ronnie gets the ball I know he's going to do something with it," Johnson said. "Those are the balls that forwards love. It's like an alley-oop in basketball."
Although the goal came after Ruiz had left the match, Johnson is very grateful for his new striking partner and what he brings to the FC Dallas attack.
"Carlos is a great player and it's nice playing with him because he takes some of the pressure off of me," added Johnson.
Ruiz, making his first appearance at The Home Depot Center since being acquired by FC Dallas, kept the Chivas USA backline on its toes throughout the evening, finally breaking through in the 78th minute when he was dragged down in the box by Ryan Suarez, leading to the game-winning penalty kick. Ruiz, who converted the spot kick, was pleased with the performance and optimistic about the rest of the season.
"We're a championship caliber team and we have aspirations of taking home the MLS Cup at the end of the year," he said. "Once we become more consistent as a team, we're going to be very good."
Danny Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.